Even a week after his death, tributes for Professor Stephen Hawking keep pouring in from across the globe. The theoretical physicist, considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time, was also a cosmologist, author, astronomer and mathematician. He was not just an inspiration for his work on black holes, The Big Bang Theory and other wonders in the universe, but also for not giving up despite being diagnosed with a fatal case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ASL) at the age of 21. While he was given a death warrant, stating that he had only two years to live, he went on to live another 55 years, inspiring the world along the way.
We asked a few students what Hawking meant to them and in what way did he inspire them.
An exceptional life
I feel that him passing away is a sad thing but in some sense, a triumph too. It is a huge loss to mankind, one can tell from the coverage. Given that he was given a couple of years to live in the 1960s but he still made it to 2018, is a truly amazing achievement! From what I’ve read about him, he was so determined to succeed, so determined to live and along the way, he did some astounding work in physics, which, for somebody with no disability at all, would’ve been an amazing achievement too. But to do all of that sitting in a wheelchair without access to single a piece of paper is astonishing. Whether it was his book A Brief History of Time, or the lectures he gave, or his broadcasts and media contributions, he touched everyone and everything. So I think that today should be about celebrating a truly exceptional and completely unique life.
— Akhil Agnihotri, BE (mechanical engineering) student, BITS Pilani Hyderabad
A hero of many generations
Every generation has a person who simply captures the mind of the people and draws them to science — a person whose work and zeal to know more inspires people to question the mysteries of nature. Stephen Hawking was that person for our generation.
— Nikhil Navaratna, BE (ECE) and MSc (physics) student, BITS Pilani Hyderabad
An inspirational force
I have been following Stephen Hawking’s work since quite a while. His blogs and research are very inspiring. His book, A Brief History of Time, that talks about The Big Bang and black holes, has been my inspiration to learn about cosmology too. Before Hawking, I thought there was no reason to study about the universe. Now I know its importance and how it can change our lives.
— Anirudh Ayyagari, BSc (statistics) student, St Mary’s Degree College
The greatest mind
While he was always my inspiration, the movie on Hawking, The Theory of Everything, changed my life. I began following him extensively after that. His book, A Brief History of Time, provided me a lot of knowledge about black holes and the outer space. Apart from that, his life in itself is an inspiration. He didn’t know he’d live for more than two years, but he never gave up. He overcame all the hurdles and proved to be the greatest mind of all time.
— Jay Panara, EEE student, Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT).